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A Piece of My Mind
June 11, 2019

Reflections on Leadership: Seizing and Embracing Opportunities—Holding up Half the Sky

Author Affiliations
  • 1McGovern Medical School at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston
JAMA. 2019;321(22):2165-2166. doi:10.1001/jama.2019.7127

On average, women are less likely than men to identify themselves as potential leaders and to seek opportunities to gain leadership skills or to take on increasingly important and complex leadership roles. I was one of those women, an unplanned and unlikely leader. I never aspired to a leadership role and never thought I would ever end up in a leadership position.

My academic journey has had a winding path defined by serendipity, unexpected choices, work in several countries, and a nontraditional but committed family life. As I’ve reflected on my career, with time spent as a clinician, a teacher, an investigator, and an administrator, serving as a department chair and now a dean, I realize that everything we do prepares us for leadership; each opportunity and each experience is a stepping-stone for increasingly complex leadership positions. Moreover, serving in a leadership role is a great privilege and has been among the most rewarding aspects of my career.

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